Two Men Convicted In John Bull Rolex Robbery
After five hours of deliberations, Jonathan Armbrister and David Collins were found guilty of conspiracy to commit the May 22, 2011 armed robbery of the Rolex boutique at John Bull’s flagship store on Bay Street.
The jury was unable to reach verdicts against Collins on the armed robbery and causing damage charges, but convicted him of receiving two watches stolen in the heist.
As for Armbrister, the jury acquitted him of armed robbery and causing damage, but could not decide whether he received four of the stolen watches.
Justice Indra Charles asked the jury to deliberate further at 4 p.m. when she gave them additional directions at the request of Geoffrey Farquharson, who appears for Collins. Although the jury had already indicated they had a verdict, Charles asked them to retire and consider her further instructions. The jury returned its verdict about 45 minutes later after mulling the judge’s amended summation.
The jury heard that staff and customers at John Bull fled in terror as two men, wearing masks to disguise their faces and gloves to prevent leaving fingerprints, burst into the Bay Street store around 10 a.m.
One of the men was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, while the other man carried a hammer, which was used to break the glass display case.
A third man, whom prosecutors allege was Armbrister, stayed in a stolen Honda Accord that was used as the getaway car.
The car was later found abandoned at the Rodney Bain Building on Parliament Street.
Police claim that Armbrister led them to where he stashed four of the stolen watches in the ceiling of his cousin’s home at Tyler Street.
Collins reportedly tossed a bag containing two Rolex watches as police confronted him.
The recovered watches still had the price tags and serial numbers attached. John Bull is the country’s sole distributor of Rolex watches.
Both accused men said that police officers got them to sign statements after weakening their resolve with vicious beatings. A former codefendant, Jasper Curry, supported Collins’ claim of brutality during his testimony.
Justice Charles warned the jury not to let Curry’s acquittal on her direction influence their verdicts in relation to the remaining defendants.
The trial, which was originally scheduled to last two weeks, resulted in the postponement of dozens of cases set before Charles. Although the jury has been discharged, the case remains on the court’s calendar as Armbrister’s lawyer Jerone Roberts will argue today that the jury’s verdicts were inconsistent. Sandradee Gardiner, the prosecutor, said this argument should be presented to the appellate court.
By Artesia Davis
Guardian Senior Reporter